Met confirms Tosca upheaval

Met confirms Tosca upheaval


norman lebrecht

December 01, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera, which never tells the whole truth if it can get away with half, confirmed overnight that the Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin has been replaced as Scarpia in Tosca by George Gagnidze .

The show opens on Thursday.

The Met says ‘Nikitin will not be appearing … due to illness.’

Cast sources say otherwise.

Nikitin will start rehearsals in Paris shortly for next month’s Mussorgsky Khovanschina.


  • Nik says:

    Gagnidze is Georgian.

  • Just a member of the audience says:

    One international baritone replaces another on short notice. This happens in opera. And the Met doesn’t publicly disclose all the gory details – probably for legal reasons. Nothing to see here.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      Completely agree. Why on earth should we expect the Met to disclose “the whole truth”? What enterprise, what newspaper, what university discloses “the whole truth” of its decisions to the public? None of them do, and wisely and rightfully so. Unless something morally or legally abhorrent happened, it is none of our business. Typical Met bashing.

  • John Kelly says:

    The replacement of one cast member, albeit a leading role, hardly constitutes “upheaval.” Mr. Gagnidze has sung Scarpia many times previously at the Met and is very good in the role.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    The only decent Scarpias at the Met in the past 10 or even 20 years have been Michael Volle, Falk Struckmann and perhaps Wolfgang Koch, not regularly featured at the Met, which prefers to continually inflict upon us the same mediocre Eastern European retreads – Gagnidze, Lucic etc. So uninspiring and unimaginative is the casting there.

    • Nik says:

      You have watched too many Bond films. You need to come away from the assumption that the baddie must be played by a German.

    • Zee says:

      Ruggiero Raimondi – the best Scarpia in recent decades. I don’t know if he sang the role for the Met.

      • Anonymous Bosch says:

        I assume you mean Ruggero Raimondi, and no, he never sang Scarpia at the Met, and only five times at Wiener Staatsoper, the last at age 69.

        I suppose it doesn’t fall under the category of “recent decades” but my favourite Scarpia was Tito Gobbi.

      • Yes Addison says:

        Perhaps surprisingly, they missed his Scarpia entirely. His most-performed Met role was Banquo, followed by Silva in Ernani, Basilio in Barbiere, and two Mozarts, Figaro and Don Giovanni.

        His only Puccini role for the Met was two Collines on the spring tour in 1972.

        He sang there a fair amount over a long period, but there were also long breaks that covered some of his best years.

        • Tom Phillips says:

          For most of that time, he was known as a bass not a bass-baritone so more baritone-oriented roles such as Scarpia, Iago etc. were presumably never offered to him. Although he would certainly have been at least as impressive in them as the ubiquitous James Morris.

      • Save the MET says:

        Raimondi had a small voice, focused, but small. His Scarpia worked fine in a smaller house, but likely would not have been adequate for the MET.

  • Sammy says:

    Great replacement. Nicotine was pretend coughing in rehearsals. Was loud and rude. So if he was sick for real or just wanted to get the heck out doesn’t matter. The audience is gaining a great and scary replacement